Graduate Degree Completion/Graduation

The degree completion process assures that all program requirements, University policies, and policies of the Office of Graduate Studies are met.

The degree audit begins when a student submits their Application for Graduation. Applications are required - a degree or certificate will not be awarded if an Application is not submitted - and due by the posted deadline.

Preparing to Graduate

Ensure all paperwork mentioned in the steps detailed below is submitted by the posted deadlines.

1.  Apply to Graduate/Receive your Degree

All graduate students who are ready to graduate (including students earning a graduate certificate) must submit an Application for Graduation to the Office of Graduate Studies.

  • The Application for Graduation must be approved and signed by all appropriate faculty members (this information is detailed on the Application for Graduation form)
  • Ensure all signees have been appointed as members of the graduate faculty.

2.  Register for credit during your final semester

All graduate students must be registered for least one graduate-level credit during the semester in which they intend to graduate. This is a requirement per the University's Graduate Enrollment Policy.

  • Finishing a previous course with an 'IP' does not fulfill this requirement. Continuous Registration is required for Doctoral students.

3.  Complete and Submit (if applicable) the Capstone

All graduate students (excluding those only earning a graduate-certificate) are required to complete a capstone for their program, however, only the thesis or dissertation is submitted to the Office of Graduate studies.

  • Specific information regarding how and where to submit a thesis or dissertation can be found here.
  • A late thesis or dissertation submission will result in the student's graduation date being pushed back by one academic semester and the student may be required to register for additional graduate-level credit. Visit the deadlines page for more information.
  • Information regarding capstone project requirements and types can be found here.

4.  Submit the appropriate Recommendation Form

All graduate students (with the exception of graduate certificates) are required to submit a signed recommendation form after all of their capstone requirements are complete and approved by the department.

Commencement/Graduation Ceremony

Your registration window will not open until you have submitted your Application for Graduation to the Office of Graduate Studies. You are not required to register for, or walk in, the Commencement Ceremony, the ceremony is entirely optional and will not effect the awarding of your degree.

Questions about the Commencement/Graduation Ceremony, ordering garments, etc., please contact Commencement Services at
  • Please allow 10 days after your Application for Graduation is processed (you'll receive a confirmation e-mail from Graduate Studies) for your registration window to open.
  • If the registration window is closed, you'll need to submit an appeal to register.
  • Register to walk in Commencement Here: Register
  • After you register, you will receive an email from the Office of Commencement Services with instructions for ordering your cap, gown, and other necessary accessories.  
  • There is no Commencement Ceremony in the summer. Summer graduates are automatically able to register for the spring or fall ceremonies directly before or after their summer term of graduation. 
  • If you wish to walk in a Commencement Ceremony that is not during your semester of graduation, please email the Office of Graduate Studies with the semester you wish to walk.
  • If you are an international student needing to request an invitation for graduation, please refer to the Kearney International Center form.